Andragogy, the practice of teaching adults, is notably different from pedagogy, the practice of teaching children. That’s because fundamentally, adult learners are different from child learners. One commonality exists, however: game-based learning is of great benefit to both categories of learners.
1. Self-directed learning
In general, adult learners prefer to learn at their own pace. By developing a learning game and sharing it with learners via a learning management system, they are at liberty to go through the material at their own pace. A game guides the learner through clearly defined learning paths towards common goals.
Learner motivation can also be encouraged through gamification elements such as rewards, progression, and social or competitive features.
2. Experiential learning
Neuroplasticity – the ability of the brain to grow and develop when exposed to new experiences – tends to reduce with age. Adult neuroplasticity can be cultivated by changing focus from memorizing facts by rote to learning rich, valuable subjects that can be applied in the real world.
Adult learners tend to engage with material that can directly be applied to their real-world circumstances. Through role-based learning games, simulations, and branching scenarios, adult learners can absorb knowledge faster since it is not purely theoretical. In cases where theory is to be imparted, games can help make information seem more ‘real’ and therefore relevant or applicable.
3. Less time available
Adults typically have a full-time jobs, children, or find it challenging to put aside the time to learn for other reasons. Since there’s never enough time available for learning, adult learners need to be completely engaged during the time that they are logged on. A game can significantly improve engagement, and thus can improve learning outcomes for time spent.
At the same time, games can be supplemented with microlearning to add value in terms of theoretical learning or aiding recall.
4. Goal-oriented learning
When you design a game for adult learners, it’s important to define strong game elements that drive the learner towards clearly defined goals. This helps users take specific choices and make decisions that guide them on their learning journey.
Some behavioral psychologists point to the fact that many individuals are motivated by taking risks. Provide learners with opportunities to take risks during the game, such as specific levels or assessments of higher value in terms of points or non-point rewards. These opportunities could be created based on their own choices during gameplay.
5. Keep it tough!
Adult learners like challenges and like to be respected. So don’t make your game too easy! This takes away the challenge and can even be seen as an insult to the player’s intelligence. Ensure that it is possible to lose the game. The learner should need to apply thought in order to get through the game and complete the learning objectives. At the same time, don’t make it so hard that it’s demotivating!
Adults have unique requirements when compared to younger learners. By creating a gamified learning experience, you can make corporate learning smoother. Do reach out to our team of experts to discuss how to get started with a game that works well for your adult learners.